If an album entitled “Bloodsweat” by a band called Plague Vendor sounds good to you, you’re going to like this. It’s a name for a band playing at the limit of music, be it punk or metal, one that wants a frenzied and loyal fan base to sweat blood in the moshpit at gigs.
In this case PV are punk/garage and they sound variously like many other bands you’ve heard, probably most notable The Hives (Walk Idiot Walk), the garage rock band whose sound is typified by sharp production and a clear sound from all the instruments. A number of tracks are Hives-ish not only because of the overall sound but because singer Brandon Blaine (who could only be a rock star with that name) sounds a lot like Pelle Almqvist when he wants to. At other times they sound heavier and a bit QOTSA. We did try and compare to Rancid but it’s less laddy and more indie than Tim Armstrong’s band.
Opener Anchor To Ankle is neither of these, a blistering opening song that has its roots in old school punk and is one of their more conventional tunes. It’s a statement of intent for the rest of the album; Blaine both sings and screams the vocals so it’s a litmus test for whether you’ll be liking what follows. Jezebel is similar but given more urgency thanks to its pounding bass; the first Hives/Almqvist comparison comes during this.
Credentials starts slower as a full-on Hives clone, with the mic only just coping with the vocals and the guitar ramping up the louder chorus, Braine Raging Against The Machine towards the end. Isua is more melodic while Chopper is in both name and sound a Hives tune. Vocals range from proper singing to the Almqvist melodic howl, and from John Lydon yelling to screaming (with some Elvis sneering in places). Sweaty, stripped-down punk played well, with a surprising amount of melody.